Unfamiliar territory: Black in a Nimzo-Larsen

Technical questions regarding Openings, Middlegames, Endings etc.
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Nicky Chorley
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Unfamiliar territory: Black in a Nimzo-Larsen

Post by Nicky Chorley » Sat Dec 26, 2020 9:16 am

I'm really missing OTB chess as probably a lot of people are, but I'm trying to play some decent games online. Here's a correspondence game I played with Black over the course of a day (!). I can't recall facing the Nimzo-Larsen before and I misplayed the opening losing a pawn. I got it back and then ended up in a middlegame that felt playable and enjoyable and the resulting ending was drawn.



My own analysis, without looking much at an engine (so it's possible that I've missed something):

After 8. ... c5 and the exchanges, White has the d4 square for a knight. I spent time in the game wanting to exchange it for my dark-squared bishop (which didn't seem to have any targets on that diagonal), but White could recapture with the e pawn and I didn't like that they'd then have a majority on the queenside of connected pawns that looked like they could be dangerous if they advanced. Maybe f5, trying to grip e4 was better.

11. ... Be4 - I don't think it was really necessary to give up the bishop pair. Just Nc6 continuing development or Qa5 to try and get the pawn back seem like alternatives.

18. ... Rad8 - I was avoiding moving the knight for the moment, as maybe it belongs on d5 or e5. With 19. ... a6, I wanted to see where the bishop would go. If Bc4, I was intending Ng4 and then Ne3.

21. ... a5 to avoid White's pieces using the b5 square, while also giving me the b4 square for the knight. White ended up with an advanced pawn over the next few moves, but I reasoned that it was a weakness that I could target and tie down their pieces.

29. Rc2. I immediately found myself relieved as I thought Rd7 might be strong, but ... Bxc7 30. Nxc7 Rd8 looks OK. I didn't see Bd5 with Bb7 to follow and now don't see a way I could have prevented it.
Last edited by Nicky Chorley on Sun Dec 27, 2020 6:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Unfaimilar territory: Black in a Nimzo-Larsen

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Dec 26, 2020 12:37 pm

Nicky Chorley wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 9:16 am
I can't recall facing the Nimzo-Larsen before and I misplayed the opening losing a pawn.
Did you notice that Black's structure and the material imbalance of two Bishops and a Knight against two Knights and a Bishop can also arise from the Trompowsky? ( 1.d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 d5 3. Bxf6 exf6 ) Black can continue with .. g6, .. Bg7 and .. f5 whilst White will likely play e3 and c4. In the Nimzo-Larsen version, the move b3 weakens White's queen-side dark squares as well as being a tempo waste. That was illustrated in your game where the idea .. Qa5+, .. Qxa2 was played.

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Re: Unfaimilar territory: Black in a Nimzo-Larsen

Post by John Upham » Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:11 pm

Could this thread be relocated to the Chess Questions department and the spelling of Unfamiliar corrected?
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Nicky Chorley
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Re: Unfaimilar territory: Black in a Nimzo-Larsen

Post by Nicky Chorley » Sun Dec 27, 2020 7:00 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 12:37 pm
Did you notice that Black's structure and the material imbalance of two Bishops and a Knight against two Knights and a Bishop can also arise from the Trompowsky?
I didn't, but that's likely as I've had no experience with the Trompowsky either. These days I'm playing the English and responding to d4 with the Slav. Good to know that similar ideas arise elsewhere though.

Thanks!

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MJMcCready
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Re: Unfamiliar territory: Black in a Nimzo-Larsen

Post by MJMcCready » Sun Dec 27, 2020 5:50 pm

Nakamura sometimes opens with 1.b3, I think he's the only SGM to do so, perhaps Jobava does too.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Unfamiliar territory: Black in a Nimzo-Larsen

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Dec 27, 2020 6:34 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Sun Dec 27, 2020 5:50 pm
perhaps Jobava does too.
Jobava has played a line that runs 1. b3 Nf6 2. Bb2 g6 3. Bxf6 exf6 4. c4 Bg7 5. Nc3 f5 6. Rc1

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Unfamiliar territory: Black in a Nimzo-Larsen

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:12 pm

Nepo has been playing 1 b3 quite a bit in recent online events.
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MJMcCready
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Re: Unfamiliar territory: Black in a Nimzo-Larsen

Post by MJMcCready » Mon Dec 28, 2020 3:35 pm

Oh yes that's true but I think I heard him say in an interview he sometimes wants a break from main theory, so he plays it for that reason.

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